Just an Ordinary Lawyer

Tayo Aluko

Tayo Aluko and Friends

Spotlites

From 04 August 2016 to 28 August 2016

Rating: *****

Review by Graeme Strachan

Having previously brought the story of Paul Robeson to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010, Tayo Aluko returns with a new piece of song-laden historical theatre to tantalise theatregoers.

In the case of Just An Ordinary Lawyer, Aluko has chosen to regale us with the fascinating story of Tunji Sowande, the first African judge in British history.

It's a play that has a deep appreciation rooted in the two great private passions of Sowande's life: song and cricket. While Aluko's credentials in the singing department hardly need mentioning, his ability to make cricket sound vaguely interesting was a truer success than many.

Throughout the tale, we are always resoundlingly brought home by the lawyer's love of the sport and his angers and joys throughout the length of the D'Olivera affair and the subsequent Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympics.

It's also refreshing that, whilst championing his many accomplishments, the play never shies away from the failures in Sowande's life, most notably his decision to favour his career over his family and the resultant feud that grows from that decision.

In the end, this is another triumph from Aluko and, while not quite matching the immediacy and visceral impetus of Call Mr Robeson, it is a story of triumph over bigotry that thrills and touches.